According to several pro-immigrant groups, Mitt Romney’s Saturday selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan illustrates the “disconnection” of Republicans with the nation’s Latino community. This disconnect is unlikely to help Romney make a dent in Obama’s 43.8% lead among Latinos found in a Univision survey of Latino registered voters.Although the Romney-Ryan ticket has revitalized the Republican campaign by appealing to its conservative base, some progressive groups are unsettled in light of Ryan’s past support of anti-immigrant measures. In December 2010, Ryan voted against the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young, undocumented students living in the U.S. In 2005, Ryan supported a bill to criminalize unauthorized immigration.
National groups including LULAC and the Hispanic Federation fear that the Ryan budget, which was approved by the Republican-controlled House but floundered in the Senate, would hurt the Latino community by slashing Medicare and changing Social Security.
Maribel Hastings, executive advisor to the pro-reform group America’s Voice, said that Romney’s VP pick casts the Republican party as one that “promotes anti-immigrant measures (and fiscal proposals that run counter to the interests of the Latino community.” According to Hastings, Ryan’s presence jeopardizes Romney’s popularity with Latino voters, as “Ryan’s presence does not offer any balance to the extreme stances Romney has outlined during the course of the electoral process.”